An outstanding attacking display from Berkeley saw the home side defeat Picton Rangers 4-1 at Berkeley Sports Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Just six minutes in, the Goat’s opened the scoring with an exceptional ball in behind the defence line from Aurion Jones and into the feet of former J League midfielder Ryosuke Matsuoaka, before the defensive midfielder easily sent his strike into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
A potential scoring opportunity came from the Rangers just 15 minutes later with a ball from centre back Slaven Ljuboja who sent Matthew Tesoriero out wide but struggled to get past a strong Berkeley defence line.
In the 18th minute, Jones began to cause havoc in the midfield once more with another precise through ball into Mondo Kagami but could not send the ball past the Rangers goalkeeper Tristian Michelmann.
A chance to double their lead came in the 24th minute with a square ball from Dylan Evans into Nuno Pires whose strike would just miss the top corner.
The match became heated with both sides bringing a fiery last 20 minutes to the pitch.
Pires would soon come close again, with a powerful shot that rattled the cross bar, but it was Kagami who doubled the lead for the Goat’s in the 35th minute after receiving a ball from the experienced Matsuoaka just outside the 18-yard box before sending his long-range shot into the top corner of the net.
It didn’t take long for Picton to retaliate when five minutes left in the first half, right-back Craig Cooley picked up a scrappy ball in the middle of the 6-yard box, scoring their first goal for the match.
A late goal from the Rangers still couldn’t secure the lead, as Berkeley went into half-time with a 2-1 advantage.
Picton came out onto the pitch looking fast paced with Liam Gregory taking space out wide before hitting the ball straight into the hands of goal-keeper Clause D’Alessio
It wasn’t until the 64th minute where Berkeley looked to have their closest goal scoring opportunity in the second half with Pires sending an exceptional shot straight onto the cross bar, for the second time.
The Goat’s continued to dominate in the front third when Matsuoaka took a shot at goal in the box, only to be saved by a Ranger’s defender and rebounding back into the feet of Matsuoaka who later secured his second goal for the day.
A couple threatening plays from the Picton side looked to be dangerous but wasn’t enough to break through Berkeley’s defence line.
The game wasn’t over just yet however, when Pires would finally get his well-earned goal for the day with a neat chip from just inside the halfway line and over Michelmann’s head, taking a 4-1 lead for the Goat’s in the 88th minute.
After some clinical finishing from Berkeley, the home side were able to secure all three points.
The Goat’s will head to Ray Robinson Park next Saturday afternoon as they take on the Fernhill Foxes, whilst the Rangers will host University FC.
Berkeley Sports: 4 (Ryosuke Matsuoka 6’ 75’, Mondo Kagami 35’, Nuno Pires 88’)
Picton Rangers: 1 (Craig Cooley 40’)
Berkeley Sports: 1. D’ALESSIO Claude, 2. MUSCAT John, 3. TREVISI Aaron, 4. KING Jarryd, 5. CROUCH Ryan, 6. MATSUOKA Ryosuke, 7. KAGAMI Mondo, 8. JONES Aurion, 9. PIRES Nuno, 10. ADAMS Jon, 11. EVANS Dylan
Substitutes: 12. JORGE Damian, 13. MOON Greg, 14. TILL HAYDEN, 15. SKANDARI Mohammad, 21. BOERSMA Lachlan
Picton Rangers: 1. MICHELMANN Tristan, 2. COOLEY Craig, 4. O’NEIL Brodie, 5. LJUBOJA Slaven, 6. TESORIERO Matthew, 7. MICKEN Joshua, 8. O’NEIL Cameron, 9. GREGORY Liam, 10. O’NEIL Conner, 13. MIRANDA Scott, 16. FITZSIMMONS Bailey
Substitutes: 3. MESIAS Sebastian, 12. JORDON Jayden, 11. MORLEY Dayne, 22. WHITTINGHAM Aaron, 14. LIPOVIC Aaron
Date: Saturday 9 July 2022
Venue: Berkeley Sports Ground
Referee: Steve Bozic
Assistant Referees: C Flemming and W Davidson
Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_